HELP International


The Mission of HELP International is to empower people to fight global poverty through sustainable, life-changing development programs. Several Brigham Young University faculty and students founded HELP International in 1999, as H.E.L.P. Honduras. The initial group of 46 volunteers raised over $115,000 and spent four months volunteering in Honduras conducting humanitarian aid work and administering microcredit loans to those in need.

Since then, HELP has grown to be a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving in various projects including earthquake relief, microfinance impact assessment, family gardening, adobe stoves, libraries, business training and teaching English as a second language. HELP currently serves in El Salvador, India, Uganda, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand, Belize and Fiji. HELP has grown and changed through the years but continues to focus on facilitating poverty elimination worldwide.


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Yes, I recommend this program


I have volunteered abroad with Help International three times now (Uganda, Nepal, and Peru). The organization’s mission to Empower People is successful, but it is only obtained and sustained when intelligent, driven, confident, and loving people volunteer. I have witnessed firsthand, on countless occasions, the success of their mission. My experiences with Help are all positive and have completely changed my life. But, going abroad, to countries that are underdeveloped because of war or the environment, or for whatever reason, is NOT EASY. It is actually extremely difficult, from living in conditions we are not used to in the United States, to eating food that could very well make us sick. Volunteering with Help tests you as a person. Nevertheless, the power of the experiences with the people you empower outweighs any of the difficulties. So a review criticizing the organization shows me the person should not have taken the trip in the first place and overestimated their own ability to commit to such a program. Volunteering with an organization like Help is for people who are strong already – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. It is for people who are seeking the next level of their emotional maturity. Not for people who are developing a sense of self. It is for people who want to see what they can do for the world, not what the world can do for them. Help changed my life, and I am eternally grateful. I encourage anyone who believes they are ready to make their life about someone besides themselves – to join Help in empowering people.
Lastly, the criticism I have read seems “personal” and not a reflection of Help as a whole. The safety of the volunteers is paramount and with that, comes strict limitations. I know for a fact that volunteers are allowed to socialize with locals, but volunteers are not allowed to develop romantic or flirtatious relationships with locals. One focus of Help is that we do not place our American belief system upon others; that we respect the culture, and sometimes that means limiting exposure. But secondly, it is dangerous if you do not follow the rules and guidelines well established by the organization. Furthermore, Craig, felt that the organization was sexist. I submit that Craig has never actually experienced real sexism. As he sits in Uganda, where women are constantly raped and degraded for simply menstruating, he is pissed because he is surrounded by a bunch of females? Craig needed to get some perspective. I couldn’t agree with the director’s advice to Craig more, because it is what he will experience his whole life: DEAL WITH IT. There are times in life where we set aside our complaints and allow perspective make us a better person.

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Yes, I recommend this program


I loved every minute of my time in Uganda. HELP International was a great program to go with and they were very easy to work with and to help. I am a Health Science major and so I worked mostly with health related projects over in Uganda. I personally planned and implemented an Eye and Dental camp where I met with local doctors and together we put on a free clinic for the people of Uganda to come and receive care for their eyes and teeth. Care that they would have otherwise been unable to afford. We saw over 400 people and all were treated successfully. We also had a local hospital and eye surgery center present to schedule those patients who required surgeries to be able to make an appointment to do so. While there I was also able to help volunteer at various clinics and help test and treat for various diseases. I spent 4 months in Uganda from May 2011 to August of 2011. I loved every minute of it and I grew so much as a person. My knowledge greatly increased also.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Help International

The way Help International works, is that you go into a country, take a needs analysis, and then create a project based on the needs of the community as well as your personal skills and interests. Self-motivation is a really important aspect of Help International. You're not going to be told what you need to work on every day- YOU are in charge, and need to have the ability to plan, organize, and problem solve the entire time you are there. The trip is only going to be worth it if you are willing to work hard. I pushed myself to give 100% to my experience, and it was probably the most rewarding and significant 6 weeks of my life. I highly recommend it to all those who want to make a difference!

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Yes, I recommend this program

It was a volunteer experience that benefited me.

Since I traveled to Guatemala with HELP International in 2006, they've discontinued travel to there (I'm assuming) based on safety issues. However, despite the problems we encountered with safety while we were there, my time in Guatemala continues to be an amazing experience that I draw frequently from. I have been able to talk and connect with so many, here in the states, because we had that link.
While I was down there we had freedom to work on whatever projects we wanted - whatever we felt was worthwhile for us. If a project idea surfaced, we were able to submit it to HELP for approval and arrange funding if needed. I was able to teach English as a local Salvation Army elementary school twice a week, work in an orphanage or miscellaneous type project twice a week (sometimes it was traveling to villages to teach hygiene classes, deliver hygiene kits, teach square ft. gardening or other money-making skills, or helping teach and build Lorena stoves ), and then Fridays the whole team often got together for a manual labor day. On those days we often worked on building houses (I can think of 4 different houses we built in a 6 week period). We often traveled as a group on the weekends to tour the country. The hours were often early, but never seemed long; and the work was just hard enough to be proud of your finished product. It was a wonderful way to spend my summer! The places I had the chance to see and people I met continue to stay with me - it was a great experience!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Lugazi, Uganda

I spent three months in Uganda with HELP International in the summer of 2010. I was very pleased by the quality of the program, especially the care that staff and board members have for the work. These are genuine idealists with real cares about people stuck living in poverty. I felt safe and comfortable while in country which allowed me to focus on projects I worked on. I would recommend this program to anyone, whether they are new to development work, or a seasoned veteran.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you decide to volunteer with HELP in Tanzania?

I chose to volunteer with HELP mostly because it wasn't as expensive as most other projects I had seen, and because of their strict rules. I've lived abroad before and have seen that if people aren't willing to be overly-respectful of the native culture, bad things can come of it. I knew that I wanted to have a safe, productive experience so I wanted to go with an organization that had a good reputation, especially among the natives. It was HELP's first year in Tanzania, so I couldn't guarantee that reputation, but they've had great success in all the other countries they work in. They didn't disappoint.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

My daily activities included meeting with potential partners, doing research at internet cafes in town, discussing problems and brainstorming solutions with other group members and locals, collecting material prices for proposal budgets, planning lessons, teaching classes, working on construction projects. We did so many different things, but it varied each day and the types of activities changed depending on how far along we were into the summer.

At the beginning it was more geared towards talking with locals, identifying problems, creating a potential solution, writing a proposal, and getting the team to vote on it. After that, we got to work on the actual projects. We usually had a group meeting on Sunday nights to review the week before and plan the next week. We also planned small group meetings throughout the week for each individual project to make sure we were staying on track.

Weekends were up to us to plan. We spent the first few weeks in the closest city just trying to find our way around, going grocery shopping, and visiting museums and art markets. After about a month, we started taking trips and going on hikes in small groups. We went out to Moshi (near Mt. Kilimanjaro) to see the mountain and some nearby waterfalls. Another weekend, we visited some nearby Tanzanite mines. Most of us decided to take a vacation day and we went on a 3-day camping safari. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done! Some of us also took a weekend trip to the Indian Ocean.

How has this experience impacted your future?

This volunteer experience has definitely shaped who I am today and what I want to do with my future. I am now looking into going into nursing school after seeing how few people have access to real doctors. I also am trying to find ways to better support a group we worked with that helped albino children. They want to someday build a school and I think it would be awesome to go back someday and help them do that.

Next semester I'm hoping to intern with the International Rescue Committee that helps new African immigrants in the area. I want to continue teaching people about business and health, especially now that I better understand the East African culture. These are all new things that I hadn't seriously considered before going. Now I know that I probably can't change the whole world, but I also know that the education I've received can definitely be used to help others.